1. What is your typical day like?
My typical day begins with my alarm going off at six and me turning it off until 6:30 – 6:45. The hubby and I get up and get ready. More often than not these days, our little man is sleeping. This makes it much easier to get ready. We both shower, get dressed, and then one of us will get Patrick ready for the day. I nurse Patrick. My husband normally helps make sure my pump bag is stocked with bottles, caps, and ice packs, and off we go! Hubby normally drops little man off at his babysitter’s since he works very close to her house. Around 7:45AM, I head off to my job at a community college about 35 minutes away. I have a very hectic job, so I am running around during the day and fitting in three pumping sessions. Sometimes I forget to each lunch, but I try not to (any other Student Affairs/Higher Ed mamas reading this?!?) We both get off at 5pm. I normally call my husband on the way home to discuss what to do for dinner (I still haven’t gotten the hang of meal planning! I need some serious help in this department!) My husband usually picks Patrick up, and I meet them at home. We all hang out together and cook dinner. We eat and then play with Patrick before bedtime. Then comes bath, book, pjs, lullabies, and rocking/nursing until he is asleep, and I can transfer him to his crib. I put P down in his crib around 8:30pm, and the hubs and I get a couple hours together before we go to sleep/P wakes up. No, he doesn’t sleep through the night, so I haven’t had an uninterrupted night of sleep in over a year! (Oh bless you mama – pumping and not sleeping through the night! I see those days in my very near future…)
2. Why do you work?
I am not a huge fan of this question.. only because no one asks men that question. Nobody asked my husband when I was pregnant if he was going to keep working. I think our society is generally biased against working moms because of traditional culture. However I understand WHY people ask, and so I will answer: I work for a variety of reasons and money is one of them. I love working with students and having an identity outside of ‘mom’. I also work because in my career field I don’t have the option to just start working part-time or take a couple years off. If I want to stay in my career field and continue to advance, I know I need to be working full time. In the future, I may decide to change fields or stay home, but for now this is where God wants me and I know that I am using the gifts He has given me. (Good point about people not asking men why they work, and I agree that this question can be taken in a lot of different ways. My heart behind it though – in case anyone was wondering – is just to establish that while money is certainly a factor for many/most of us, it isn’t the only reason mothers work. Understanding how our work is part of our calling, makes us more disciplined and happier, etc. etc. etc. makes going to work every day so much more purposeful and meaningful. Agreed?)
3. What’s the best thing about being a working mom? What’s the worst or hardest thing?
The great things about being a working mom are having an identity outside of “mom”, impacting students lives, having a second income, building adult relationships, and utilizing my education.
There are so many hard things… Honestly I am in a season of life where the days are more “hard” than great… but mom guilt, missing my baby, missing the mom “stuff” like weekly Bible studies, playgroups etc, pumping at work, and not having enough time in the day to do what needs to be done are some of the hardest things. (Oh I can so relate to so many of this! Hang in there momma! Thanks for being honest… You still have a very little one, and it does get easier!)
4. What items or tips do you recommend to help “make it work”?
1) House Cleaner… this has relieved so much stress and made it so that when I get home my entire focus is on my little man and husband. It is worth every penny. (AMEN!)
2) Surround yourself with encouraging and affirming people (especially other working mamas). My working mama friends have become soo incredibly important to me. I know that they understand and support me. A good friend of mine and I have started talking on the phone in the morning during our commutes and I def look forward to those chats. (What a great idea to have a morning phone date. I love that.)
3) Having babysitter/daycare/nanny send you pictures of your little ones during the day. When I get really sad, I love that I can look at my phone and find pictures/videos from his babysitter. It instantly puts a smile on my face. (Knowing he is happy/having fun helps so much too!)
4) Having a supportive and helpful partner. I could not do this without my husband. He is the most helpful and supportive partner I could ever ask for.
5) Having a babysitter that LOVES your baby and is apart of your family.
6) Ordering groceries online and picking them up. We do it from Harris Teeter but I know other grocery stores do it. If you are in northern Virginia, you can most likely get them delivered. For us, it is only an extra $5 and worth every penny.
5. What encouragement, scripture, etc. has been important in your life and might be meaningful to another working mom?
What has encouraged me is the quote “Don’t count the days, but make the days count.” It reminds me to cherish every second I have with my little man and be very intentional about how I spend it. I have also been encouraged by the lives of the saints who are also working mamas! My favorite is St. Gianna who had four children and was a practicing physician. A quote from her is “Work can be prayer… If we offer to the Lord all the actions that we perform, so that they might serve His glory.” (MAN, that quote form St. Gianna is so powerful! Thank you for sharing!!)
SaraLynn, thank you so much for sharing and being vulnerable here. You are doing a GREAT job!!!